Sensory Overload?

Roland

Confident
I grew up on a farm and was homeschooled. My Mom would go through times she was overwhelmed so we wouldn't go anywhere for a month at a time. Once I moved to a small town at 17 years old, a lot of normal things were scary and overwhelming, such as ordering food at a new restaurant, new situations in general, etc. This wasn't just because of the way I grew up, because my siblings adjusted much better than I did. They don't have the mental issues I have, despite living through the same abuse.

But I digress. My first full-time job, I was a kindergarten aide and admin assistant at a private school. It was very draining. I went from spending a lot of time at home (homeschool, part-time jobs) to being out of the house a lot. I didn't get the rest I needed, I wouldn't sleep enough, then end up having to go to bed really early. It was hard to do much besides work, but it didn't stop me, I still dated, went to social meetups, and church stuff. But I suffered for the lack of rest, and sensory overload arose as kind of a new symptom.

I think twice or thrice in the past year, it's been auditory for a few days. People talking at a low level was painful. I used earplugs and headphones to get through it. More recently it's been visual and much more regularly. In the evenings, I will turn out the lights except for maybe a very dim lamp or a light on in a room I'm not in. In May I discovered a secret weapon, sunglasses xD I sometimes wear them indoors during the day, especially if I'm around a lot of people. I felt safer wearing them in grocery stores. Sometimes my eyes or head hurt and I just don't want to see anymore xD

I lost my sense of smell during COVID, even though I was never sick, and I loved it. I hate smelling things, even if they smell 'nice', it's usually too strong/overpowering. I hate candles, perfume, etc. I like everything to smell neutral or not even notice the smell.

Sometimes the feeling of brushing my teeth is repulsive. Sometimes certain types of clothes on my skin feel like being in restraints. Sometimes I hate to be touched.

Is this common in PTSD? How do you manage it? It was bad enough I thought I might have autism, but I don't, just PTSD.
 
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OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t know how common it is but I understand that to an extent. I think grounding techniques can be helpful. Grounding techniques to me are like little games I play with myself when I’m on overload. Find things the color of the rainbow. Then repeat. Find the letters of the alphabet. Find the numbers 1-13. Rocks in my pocket that I can hold. Essential oils in my bag that I love, that remind me of someone caring. Cold water to drink. Etc.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i don't know how common sensory overload is as a ptsd symptom, but it is an extremely common symptom for hyper-active metabolisms. my metabolism has been hyper-active for my entire life and have always believed my tendency to overload was more because of the hyper-activity. the manifestations of hyper-vigilance, etc., don't help any, but? ? ? onward through the fog.

for what it's worth
i, too, benefit from sunglasses when i am on sensory overload. i am extremely light sensitive and need them more to deal with the eye-jabbing brights of night than sunlight. sunlight, i can handle. security lights set me to howling. seems to me that the brighter our night lights get, the less enlightened we are.
 

Roland

Confident
i don't know how common sensory overload is as a ptsd symptom, but it is an extremely common symptom for hyper-active metabolisms. my metabolism has been hyper-active for my entire life and have always believed my tendency to overload was more because of the hyper-activity. the manifestations of hyper-vigilance, etc., don't help any, but? ? ? onward through the fog.

for what it's worth
i, too, benefit from sunglasses when i am on sensory overload. i am extremely light sensitive and need them more to deal with the eye-jabbing brights of night than sunlight. sunlight, i can handle. security lights set me to howling. seems to me that the brighter our night lights get, the less enlightened we are.
What the heck is a hyperactive metabolism
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t know how common it is but at this point I’m considering getting my ears checked because I am sooo sensitive to sound. I think I always have been but yes it has been worse for the last year and a half. I have wondered if my sound issues arise from a combo of PTSD symptoms (as they’ve been worse since the symptoms decided to come back full bore) and a childhood of abuse. I wonder if it’s like visually impaired people who seem to be able to hear better because they’ve had to develop their other senses. For me I had to be aware of everything that was going on as a kid to be able to put out fires before they became a problem. Like hearing my brother say he was going with a friend he wasn’t supposed to and finding a way to either talk him out of it or make dinner or do extra chores to put my mom in a good mood so she wouldn’t notice. Just a random thought I’ve had. I deal with sound issues by gritting my teeth, plugging my ears or avoiding places that are loud.

I’m also very scent sensitive but I have no idea where that comes from. My family says I smell a fart before it happens, just as an example of how bad it is. I should own stock in Febreeze because I can’t cook without it. I feel like I can smell the cooked food for days afterwards. I’ve also found that baking after cooking helps. Replace the strong scent for a sweet one. The coffee and detergent aisles are avoided at all costs. So I deal with smells by replacing them with a better one or avoiding.
 

Roland

Confident
I don’t know how common it is but at this point I’m considering getting my ears checked because I am sooo sensitive to sound. I think I always have been but yes it has been worse for the last year and a half. I have wondered if my sound issues arise from a combo of PTSD symptoms (as they’ve been worse since the symptoms decided to come back full bore) and a childhood of abuse. I wonder if it’s like visually impaired people who seem to be able to hear better because they’ve had to develop their other senses. For me I had to be aware of everything that was going on as a kid to be able to put out fires before they became a problem. Like hearing my brother say he was going with a friend he wasn’t supposed to and finding a way to either talk him out of it or make dinner or do extra chores to put my mom in a good mood so she wouldn’t notice. Just a random thought I’ve had. I deal with sound issues by gritting my teeth, plugging my ears or avoiding places that are loud.

I’m also very scent sensitive but I have no idea where that comes from. My family says I smell a fart before it happens, just as an example of how bad it is. I should own stock in Febreeze because I can’t cook without it. I feel like I can smell the cooked food for days afterwards. I’ve also found that baking after cooking helps. Replace the strong scent for a sweet one. The coffee and detergent aisles are avoided at all costs. So I deal with smells by replacing them with a better one or avoiding.
Sounds similar to me
 

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
Sensory issues like this are very common in Autism, found out recently I'm autistic. Explains a lot.
Sunglasses go everywhere with me now.

Even if you're not autistic, looking up ways to deal with sensory overload and maybe even Autistic burnout could be helpful.
 
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Roland

Confident
Sensory issues like this are very common in Autism, found out recently I'm autistic. Explains a lot.
Sunglasses go everywhere with me now.

Even if you're not autistic, looking up ways to deal with sensory overload and maybe even Autistic burnout could be helpful.
I did some research about autistic burnout and wow it's like spot on 🤔😱 especially the socializing/not being able to verbally express when burnt out. But my psych eval tested for autism and my psychologist said I was socially savvy enough to not be autistic so **shrug** I guess it can still be PTSD it's just interesting how often PTSD overlaps with autism.
 

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
I've the impression the medical / mental health professions are often as ignorant about Autism as the general population. I know I was.

But anyway, if the coping techniques help you then cool 🙂
 

Roland

Confident
I've the impression the medical / mental health professions are often as ignorant about Autism as the general population. I know I was.

But anyway, if the coping techniques help you then cool 🙂
Honestly it's pretty irritating. I went into my psychological evaluation being pretty clear about my disdain for misdiagnosis. I know like I'm not a professional, but I'm a very mental health/psychology informed "sufferer" and also very self aware. But anyways, it honestly doesn't matter if I have autism or don't, I do have PTSD and if things overlap and autism help and coping mechanism works for me then that's the point.
 
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